When you looked at the main card for Bellator’s latest offering on Dec. 4, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a pretty underwhelming card. Unless you’re a longtime fan of the organization, the only name you probably recognized was Josh Thomson. But a couple of Bellator mainstays competed on the card as well, and one of them staked his claim for another title shot.
Brian Rogers vs. Virgil Zwicker (Light Heavyweight – 205 lbs.)
The first round saw both guys primarily feel each other out and trade grazing blows. Rogers was able to secure a late takedown which allowed him to steal the round. The trend continued in the second round, but not before a wicked groin shot by Rogers sent Zwicker crumpling to the mat. While he was able to recover, Zwicker found himself on the receiving end of another takedown by Rogers, and this time Rogers was able to secure an arm triangle for the victory.
Winner: Rogers by second-round submission (arm triangle)
Mario Soto vs. Adam Piccolotti (Lightweight – 155 lbs.)
Both of these young fighters wanted to make a name for themselves in a crowded Bellator lightweight division. That would mostly come from Piccolotti who took Soto to the ground early and often. Piccolotti swarmed Soto in the second round and busted him open with some punishing ground-and-pound. He then secured a rear-naked choke and literally squeezed blood from Soto’s head. Seriously. Look it up on the internet. Nasty stuff.
Winner: Piccolotti by second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
Patricky “Pitbull” Freire vs. Derek Anderson (Lightweight – 155 lbs.)
These two previously squared off in 2013, which ended in a split decision victory for Anderson. The rematch was close throughout, as both fighters displayed excellent ground games in the first round while Freire also unleashed some aggressive strikes. Freire also seemed to control the second round by outworking Anderson on the ground while also landing some well-timed strikes.
However, the judges surprisingly ended up awarding the fight to Anderson in another close loss for Freire.
Winner: Anderson by split decision
Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Daniel Weichel (Featherweight – 145 lbs.)
The winner of this fight was likely going to be next line for a title shot against featherweight champion Daniel Straus. Weichel made sure there was no doubt that he would get another shot at the gold. He kept Karahanyan on the defensive for all three rounds, confusing and frustrating him and securing his shot at redemption against Straus.
Winner: Weichel by unanimous decision
Josh Thomson vs. Pablo Villaseca (Lightweight – 155 lbs.)
This was Thomson’s second consecutive fight for Bellator in San Jose, and he didn’t disappoint. He outclassed the younger Villaseca in the first round, displaying his experience in the cage and showing that Villaseca may have been in a tad over his head. Thomson confirmed that fact in the second round, as he took Villaseca to the mat and unleashed a barrage of strikes for the finish.
To the surprise of many after the fight, Thomson elected to call out former lightweight champion Michael Chandler over current champion Will Brooks. Even if Thomson’s decision may leave you scratching your head, there’s no doubt that a potential bout between Thomson and Chandler would be a fight not to be missed.
Winner: Thomson by second-round TKO